Antiques and old historic buildings and neighborhoods – that’s my thing. I like the authenticity of the experience and appreciate the dedication necessary to provide such experiences to the traveling public.
That’s why I love the Old Mill in Pigeon Forge, TN.
While other restaurants, shops and attractions come and go in Pigeon Forge, the Old Mill is the heart of this community. This is where it all began. Other than air conditioning, paved streets and electric lights, this is exactly what Pigeon Forge looked like before the tourists came, before there was a national park, even before Dolly was a tune in her momma’s heart.
Pigeon Forge is one of three gateways to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most visited in the National Park system. That would help explain why the Old Mill’s water wheel, lapping through the Pigeon River, is one of the most photographed mills of its kind in the country.
The outdated but effective system of ropes and pulleys turn gigantic granite stones, grinding the corn and wheat to various consistencies that will late be used for corn bread, pancakes, biscuits and grits. On a good day, the mill produces about 1,000 pounds of flour. Each little bag is filled, weighed and tied by and.
So I loaded up my shopping basket and then grabbed some jellies that will find their way into my cupboards and under the Christmas tree.
Breakfast at the Old Mill
I knew the flour would make good muffins because we had just enjoyed a basketful with breakfast next door at the Old Mill Restaurant. Not as old as the mill itself, but with the same unpainted exterior and creaky wooden floors, the Old Mill Restaurant is renowned for its hearty southern cooking.
When the server arrives at your table, you feel the need to leave an extra big tip based on the massive tray laden with so much food. In recent years, the cooks have cut back a bit on the sodium, switched to trans fat free oils and added quite a few more fresh vegetables to the menu, making a meal at the Old Mill a little friendlier for your heart and waistline.
I particularly love the pecan pies, which are the best sellers of dozens of pies offered here. I may have to make a visit back just before the holidays, just to get another dose of that warm fuzzy feeling I get from creaky old places like Pigeon Forge’s Old Mill.